Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Yoga and Learning English

Has it ever occurred to you that there is a relationship between yoga and learning English?

Most people are very self-conscious when they learn a new language. When they are speaking, they are self-conscious about how they sound, about whether they are making grammatical mistakes, and whether the other(s) can understand them, and more.

Some worry about sounding stupid. 

Worrying about how you sound almost seems to be an intrinsic part of learning another language - because you want the other person to understand you. 

In a yoga class, the teacher says, "Don't look at the person next to you."  In a yoga class, the teacher tells the class to "have your own practice".  The teacher tells the students, "Don't think about how you look, or whether you look beautiful or as good as the person who you've seen in the yoga magazines."

I think there is something here for anybody learning English, or learning any other language.

When you are trying to speak, do you focus on the negative and worry so much about how you sound, or whether you are making mistakes, that you can't get the words out?

Learning a language and making grammatical mistakes go hand in hand.  It takes a while to learn the new system, and the old (your native language) keeps wanting to impose itself on the new.  It takes a long time to learn the new system, and to develop a separation between your first language and your next language.

And if you are learning English (or any other new language), feel good about your undertaking this very worthwhile and rewarding experience.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

alcholics, workaholics and other "-holics" in our lives

It appeared in the word "alcoholic" - the suffix "-ic", which meant "of or pertaining to" tagged onto the noun "alcohol" to mean somebody who drinks alcoholic in excess, somebody who has an addiction to alcohol.

Then from the word "alcoholic", the last letters "-oholic" or "-aholic" started tagging along with other nouns when the reference was to an addiction to that thing or activity, an excessive need or urge for that thing: We saw it with the noun "work" - "workoholic", referring to a person who works all the time, who has an addiction to work, or to working. 

A really popular term is "chocoholic". Can you figure out what this person loves to eat?  In this case, of course, the suffix ending is placed not on the whole noun "chocolate" but on the first syllable, "choc".  Choc + oholic.

Next we have the term "~oholic" after the verb "(to) shop" and this person is a "shopoholic".   A shopoholic could end up ruining his/her or the family's budget due to the uncontrollable urge to shop and this could create marital woes as a consequence.

Also in this group, we begin with the noun "food" so that somebody who has an obsessive urge to eat now can call himself a "foodaholic". 

There are a few new ones that derive from some addictions in the world of electronics and cyberspace:  Somebody who can't stop being on the computer is a "computeraholic". 

People who can't stop blogging now have a word to describe themselves: blogaholics.

A new word "loveaholic" has appeared in the Urban Dictionary - and so the suffix "~aholic" now can latch onto the noun "love" - and we have a word for a person who loves to love, whose urge to love or be loved is at the level of an addiction.

Can you think of any new words in the English language that fit this pattern? Have you seen any in the news? If you haven't, just wait. There are plenty of addictive behaviors these days.